Pakistani Court Demands Information on Released Bagram Prisoners
PAKISTAN – May 16 – A Lahore judge has ordered the Pakistani government to disclose the location of the ten Pakistani citizens released from Bagram prison, Afghanistan – including UK rendition victim Yunus Rahmatullah.
Mr Rahmatullah is a Pakistani citizen who was held at Bagram Airbase for ten years without charge, trial, or access to a lawyer after his capture by British forces in Iraq and subsequent rendition to Afghanistan in 2004.
Speaking at the Lahore High Court today, Justice Khalid Mehmood Khan told officials to appear in court next Tuesday (20 May) to provide information on the whereabouts of the released detainees. The judge was responding to a petition from Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), the sister organisation of legal charity Reprieve, which is assisting Mr Rahmatullah.
Legal charity Reprieve and law firm Leigh Day have brought legal proceedings on Mr Rahmatullah’s behalf to force the UK government fully to investigate his rendition and torture. In 2012, the UK Supreme Court suggested that Rahmatullah’s rendition may have amounted to a war crime.
Kat Craig, legal director at Reprieve said: “Yunus Rahmatullah have endured a ten-year ordeal of detention without charge, trial or access to a lawyer. Now he is finally on home soil, the British government must launch a full investigation into the circumstances of his rendition. The Pakistani government must disclose the whereabouts of Mr Rahmatullah and his fellow detainees without delay, and grant them access to their families as a first step to ending their nightmare.”
Sarah Belal, lead counsel for Justice Project Pakistan said: “The government is not fulfilling its duty in keeping the families of the Bagram detainees informed. The needless uncertainty is adding to the discomfort and suffering these families have been going through for years now. Once again, we have to turn to the Lahore High Court to get the government to stop dragging their feet.”
Reprieve is a UK-based human rights organization that uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.